G55 Game Notes: Edmonton Oilers look to win season series against Calgary Flames

Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Cam Lewis
4 months ago
1. Following losses to the Boston Bruins and Minnesota Wild earlier this week, the Edmonton Oilers will look to get back into the win column when they host the Calgary Flames on Saturday night.
Those back-to-back losses represent Edmonton’s first losing streak in the year 2024. The last time the Oilers dropped three games in a row was back in mid-December. It was a quick lull after the team’s eight-game winning streak and then they had the 16-game heater immediately after.
2. Will we see another extended winning streak before the end of the regular season? The Oilers have been up and down since the All-Star break, with four wins and four losses across the eight games they’ve played in February, so it doesn’t really feel like another heater is around the corner.
Last season, the Oilers won seven of eight games going into the All-Star break and fell into a rough patch after having some time off. They won just four of eleven games in February of 2023 and finished the month with an uninspiring 32-21-8 record on the season.
The Oilers acquired Mattias Ekholm from the Nashville Predators on February 28 and he made his debut with the team the following day in what wound up being a commanding 5-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. The team found its groove after that trade and went 18-2-1 in March and April, highlighted by a nine-game winning streak to close the regular season.
Making the coaching change back in November gave the Oilers the bump they needed to turn their season around. Now they need a big acquisition to spark a hot streak down the stretch. Without such a run, the Oilers likely won’t be hosting a first-round playoff series come spring.
3. This will be the third of four Battle of Alberta games this season. The Oilers won the Heritage Classic back in October by a score of 5-2 and they beat the Flames by a score of 3-1 in Calgary back in January.
With a win on Saturday, the Oilers would clinch the season series over their provincial rivals and would then have a chance to complete the sweep in Calgary in April. Only three times has there been a regular season sweep in the Battle of Alberta season series. The Flames won all six games against the Oilers in 2009-10 and five times in 2014-15, while Edmonton beat Calgary in all four meetings in 2016-17.
4. The Flames have won their last two games following a three-game losing streak and own a 27-25-5 record for the season. They’re only three points out of a playoff spot but all signs point to the team selling ahead of the trade deadline rather than making a push.
Calgary traded defenceman Nikita Zadorov and forward Elias Lindholm to the Vancouver Canucks in two separate deals earlier in the season and there are still a few more players left on their roster who would be very nice additions for contending teams. Defenceman Chris Tanev and Noah Hanifin are both set to reach unrestricted free agency in the summer and goaltender Jacob Markstron has reportedly agreed to move his no-movement clause.
5. The Oilers will start Stuart Skinner against the Flames on Saturday after Calvin Pickard started the first leg of the back-to-back against the Minnesota Wild on Friday. Skinner has an .871 save percentage over six games since the All-Star break but he’s been very good against Calgary for his career. In five games against the Flames, Skinner has allowed just six goals on 173 shots, good for a .965 save percentage.
Starting for the Flames will be Daniel Vladar. He’s made two appearances against the Oilers in his career and has allowed five goals on 60 shots. He started Edmonton’s win in Calgary back in January and took the loss despite stopping 29 of 31 shots.

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